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Author Topic: Nickel Plating an old bug  (Read 2689 times)
WV1N
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Posts: 18




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« on: October 30, 2011, 06:36:20 PM »

I recently picked up an old nickel plated blue racer.  There was so much rust on it that the only way I discovered the nickel plating was by lifting up the nameplate.  I cleaned up the rust and have the bare iron base.
Now I want to restore the plating but have no experience.  Has anyone tried the home plating kits or had experience doing small lots at a professional platter?  I assume that it would need to be copper platted before the nickel is applied.
The alternative would be to paint it cobalt blue (it's a 1919 and hence age appropiate) but I don't have a source.
Any thoughts or suggestions.
Bill WV1N
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K3STX
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Posts: 956




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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2011, 08:04:09 PM »

You can surely re-plate yourself, it is all described here:

http://w1tp.com/mwr.htm in W4PALs book "Telegraph Key Restoration". I am fixin' to do a re-plate too. I called three local plating shops for estimates for nickel plating (I sent them pix of what the job was); EACH gave me estimate of over $200 for one key!!!!! Insane.

Don't paint it, plating sounds easy. The book by W4PAL covers this AND manufacture of parts for keys. I frankly did not find the manufacturing of parts useful (after all, who has a lathe or a drill press?!), but the cleaning tricks/plating make it worth the money.

Keep us informed.

paul
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 05:59:15 AM »

Amazing,

I had the same problem.

I shipped the base  to China ($18), they plated it first class (rust removed, polished, copper plated and after that chrome plated) for $ 2 and shipped it back for shipping costs $5,65
Must be ridiculous in their eyes, and it actually is. Isn't it ?

May be they don't have pollution taxes overthere, for getting rid of the waste chemicals on our planet in the ocean.
Just as the Western World didn't have in the past.

So my blue racer is for total cost of $25,65 now first  class (probably better) as new.

Shouldn't have been necessary if the original production was copperplated first before chrome plating. But Yeah We pay all, as people of the planet Earth, for the "$" signs in the eyes of the original - US citizen- producer.

Bob
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 06:33:34 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
K3STX
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Posts: 956




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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 10:40:23 AM »

Bob,

Can you send me (or everyone) the name of the company and contact info for the plating shop in China; that is a great deal. If a USA company wants to do it for $2 that is fine, but $200 to plate a $30 key with 50 cents worth of nickel is robbery.

paul
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2011, 06:35:56 AM »

I did a try,

It is 2 or 3 years ago, and I am in the process of household moving. Everything is packed of going to be = vy sri I can't find it right now.

Bob
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NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 06:03:39 PM »

I would suggest finding a good local plating company that does bright-nickel plating.  They are experts and I'm guessing their results would be a lot better than doing it yourself, a lot easier too.

Here in the Southern California area (a region known for its super-tight emissions regulations) there are still platers doing their business.  I can't see you spending over $100 to have it stripped, prepped, and replated.  For a bug that old, you want to do "right" by it.

Bill in Pasadena
NK6Q
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K3STX
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Posts: 956




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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 07:12:45 PM »

Bill,

Take a picture of a bug off of the web, sent the jpeg into a local plater to get an estimate. That is what I did; EACH estimate was over $200 per key!!

Look at the pictures of the restorations on the link to the W4PAL book http://w1tp.com/mwr.htm  "Telegraph Key Restoration". He did this plating himself in his home shop!!

paul
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WV1N
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2011, 06:10:34 AM »

Paul,
I sent for the book last week.  I'm looking forward to seeing if he has a more reasonable solution. 
The Caswell electroless plating kit costs $90 and the electrolysis kit goes for $200!

The $200 price tag you were quoted sounds like they didn't want to be bothered with a small job.

I posted this question on the cw-bug yahoo forum and one guy said that it cost him $30 in Richmond, Va.

I'm going to start calling "antique restoration" and gun platters for a quote since they handle small jobs.

Bill wv1n
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K3STX
Member

Posts: 956




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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2011, 06:20:26 AM »

Bill,

If you could find the name of the guy in VA who posted that I would really appreciate it. To plate yourself all you need is some nickel rod, a wall-wart power supply, and some "nickel plating solution". In the book the recommendation is to buy $5 worth from a local plater, they have DRUMS of this stuff and all you need is a quart. I will certainly try it myself, why not! But I surely will not spend $200 on a kit.

paul
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WV1N
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2011, 10:16:41 AM »

Paul,
It was Milt, K4OSO
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cw_bugs/message/1676

Bill
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